“…it’s a physical thing, like it’s physically hard to open your mouth and make the words come out. They don’t come out smooth and in conjunction with your brain the way normal people’s words do; they come out in chunks as if from a crushed-ice dispenser; you stumble on them as they gather behind your lower lip. So you just keep quiet.”
It went downhill from May. I just refused to accept it. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say that I downplayed it, because I kept thinking, “this’ll be all over soon.”
‘Soon’ didn’t come. By now, I feel clobbered half the time, the other half I spend going through the motions, feigning interest and normalcy through a routine I’ve eased into in order to remain functioning – a diversion of sorts so I can rest from crying. But crying nowadays turned out to be the most effective way to exhaust myself so I can sleep. Without which, I lay awake for hours tossing and turning, sometimes thinking whether or not my bedsheet is thin or think enough to work as a noose around my neck. This has been my every day for weeks now.
On days I can muster the energy to go to work, which I am grateful for having an environment where I can absolutely keep to myself with minimal socializing involved (an occasional small talk here and there, at most), but it was physically exhausting for maybe three months now, having to wake up an extra hour early because the traffic in the metro (getting home is a worse, everyday ordeal) is just excruciating and I find myself agitated, hissing and kneading my thighs so I won’t have to punch something, someone. Maybe in these attempts to alleviate myself with being so emotionally unequipped to handle being stuck in traffic (and many, many trivial situations that are almost always not my doing), I began scratching myself relentlessly. I didn’t really notice it, until one weekend while talking to my brother, he interrupted me, “Kanina ka pa kamot ng kamot,” with my fingernails halfway through digging into a large, warm patch of red on my arm. But I think I find this as a relief, in all manners and sorts, instead of thinking, which only lead to dreadful thoughts.
For the last few months, I’ve had few conversations with some people. Lately, they are far and between, and most of them involving standard gig prep talk. And here’s the thing, and I’m sorry to admit it, but most of the time, I want them to be over. I have neither the heart nor interest to talk about organizing gigs, and the last two, while they felt close to normal, it was bogus. After what I thought was a better step, or even maybe a shadow of turning things around, was a fraud. I’m a fraud. Did I believe I am happy to drag myself out of my room to go someplace where there will be people that I will be forced to talk to, my friends included? Which part in Route 196 should I stay while waiting for the whole thing to be over, inconspicuously? I am not proud of these feelings. I don’t hate my friends, or people, but I just don’t have the energy. And maybe that’s worse, not calling the whole thing off. I already believe myself to be an unreliable friend, maybe it wouldn’t hurt to just (not) do it.
I dodge what few friends I have, and fewer of them, on their attempts to check in. I wanted to say that I’m sorry I haven’t felt like talking to anyone for months now, if I was being truly honest. I don’t know how to put into words that I wasn’t being a snob, or a bitch, or insufferable, but I don’t know what to say, what to talk about, because then I will break down and will bore or annoy or inconvenience anyone, everyone. I can’t think about having to seek professional help because I don’t have the money for it. When my uncles migrated to the US just a week ago, I felt relief wash over me, that finally, they can have a better life with the rest of our family over there than here, in this cruel, lawless place. But at the same time, I felt displaced, that I don’t belong here anymore. What is the point of staying here?
I cry. I do it not because it’s supposed to help, but because I can’t help it. It’s like that itch I can’t resist not to scratch. I should cry because not doing so feels worse, but then I never feel better afterwards. I just do, until I fall asleep. I can’t talk about it and I never intended to write about it, but I tried. I’m trying. What’s been putting me off, I guess, is the thought of being melodramatic, that I can just suck it up, that I’m only making problems where there shouldn’t be.
I wrote this down because I had to say something. I attempted to read Ned Vizzini’s It’s Kind Of A Funny Story, a book that’s been sitting on my shelves for more than a year now, but I couldn’t go on any further, it’s hard and it’s vivid. When I bought it, I was certain that I can read it and understand it and feel an emotional connection, but still can distance myself as to respect the pain the author went through, which ultimately engulfed his life. Now, I feel like I cannot disentangle myself from misery. There are bursts of what I always thought was something better, that things might be better, but they are too short to matter.
It’s difficult for me to explain myself, my silence, mostly. I can’t even answer my father directly when I told him I won’t be coming to work again tomorrow, like I didn’t today, and last Friday, his 61st birthday. How do I phrase myself?
“I’m not feeling well.”
“What’s wrong? Are you hurt?”
I’m still unsure how to answer that.